To the editor:
Adaptive Alpine Clinic and races were held on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington. The adaptive clinic provided me my first alpine opportunity to bi-ski in my life. I am 35 years old and have Friedreich's ataxia, which is a rare inherited disease that causes nervous system damage and movement problems. Due to my disability I am in a wheelchair and have minimal ability to move freely without assistance and need help with activities of daily living.
The clinic in the morning allowed me to have two knowledgeable volunteer instructors teaching me the skills to alpine ski using the bi-ski. A bi-ski is a sit ski with a molded bucket seat and two skis that can be skied with the assistance of an instructor using stabilizing outriggers and tethers. The bi-ski has a lift mechanism for getting onto a chairlift. Imagine the thrill of learning to bi-ski with the control of my own body! A simple left, center or right lean would take the bi-ski in the direction I needed to ski. I was eventually "flying" down the Mixing Bowl trail, where all the beginners start at Whiteface! When I was skiing, my independent spirit flowed, and it felt like I could do anything.
Sincere gratitude to volunteer instructors Jean Brennan and Micheal Diehl for allowing me an awesome experience. A shout-out to Don Dew, who is the director of the Whiteface Adaptive Snow Sports Program. I am looking forward to returning to Whiteface to continue my new passion for skiing and to continue to learn through the Adaptive Snow Sports Program. A special thanks to the Olympic Regional Development Authority for hosting the athletes in their various venues throughout the weekend. Thank you to the organizing committee for all the adaptive clinics held during the Empire State Games. Please continue to provide opportunities for the adaptive athletes so all of us can continue to enjoy life at its fullest.
The 33rd Empire State Winter Games are here because of the support of all the local municipalities, the Lake Placid Convention and Visitors Bureau, and all the VOLUNTEERS. You all have made me believe in pursuing my dreams of what I CAN DO! Thank you all so very much!